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R3 blockchain collaboration project builds momentum

19 November 2015  |  10414 views  |  3 cryptocurrencies

A bank-backed collaboration initiative to create a set of global standards for the use of distributed ledger technology in financial markets has picked up support from five more banks and firmed up staffing for the project.

The programme, under the stewardship of financial innovation startup R3, has picked up momentum since it launched with the backing of nine banks in September. That number has now swelled to 30, with BNP Paribas, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, ING Bank, Macquarie Bank, and Wells Fargo the latest to sign up.

Mark Buitenhek, ING global head of transaction services comments: “We want to make the most of what block chain technology has to offer our customers and the best way to achieve this is through global collaboration. Working together, we will develop innovative banking solutions for our clients with consistent standards and protocols guaranteeing widespread adoption.”

With bank support assured, R3 has appointed a diverse team with expertise in electronic financial markets, distributed ledgers and blockchain technologies to steer the project. They will be responsible for leading joint working groups with the 30 global banks involved and constructing a collaborative lab environment or sandbox to test and validate distributed ledger prototypes and protocols.

Leading the initiative as MD and CTO is Richard Gendal Brown, who was formerly responsible for banking innovation at IBM. He is joined by ex-Barlcays man James Carlyle as chief engineer, one-time Googler Mike Hearn as lead platform engineer, Cryptographer Ian Grigg and head of research Tim Swanson.

David Rutter, CEO of R3 comments: “The combined strength of our technology team and the diverse global footprint of our member banks clearly differentiates us and puts us in a unique and exciting position within the distributed ledger space. The R3 collaborative model is the best way to quickly, efficiently and cost effectively deliver these new technologies to global financial markets. We look forward to welcoming more players to our growing team as the initiative continues to develop and evolve.”

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 19 November, 2015, 15:54

I am so happy that this group is being formed. It is about time the banks got together to innovate. It's been 40 years since I've seen this type of collaboration. I wish you much success.

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Chandra Shekaran
Chandra Shekaran - Tata Consultancy Services - Bangalore, India | 19 November, 2015, 16:28

That is right. Disruptions in financial services is already heated up and it is great to see traditional financial service players partnering with Fintech players and form this consortium to innovate. I have not seen this over my two decades of experience in this industry and it is great to see some of the large banks teaming up to shape the new world of payments.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 20 November, 2015, 07:47 I think the challenge will be whether 30+ banks can get in a room and agree on anything. It's going to be interesting to see whether a set of standards do emerge that we can all use to build appropriate solutions.
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